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James Holmes’ (Dark Knight Killer) Alleged Conversion to Islam – Sloppy Reporting from the Washington Times


It’s interesting how quickly news spreads on the internet without a simple checking of sources. Making the rounds on social media and certain websites is a story that James Holmes, dubbed the “Dark Knight killer” for opening fire at a screening of the The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 58, has converted to Islam. Additionally, the story claiming this states he did so in order to justify his murder spree as striking back against the “infidels”.

Very interesting, I thought, except the National Enquirer was quoted as the source, so it seemed like a hoax or another tabloid story, but then the Washington Times quoted the story and gave it more legitimacy. But is it legitimate? Maybe, but as of today, it’s looking pretty shaky.

The Washington Times Story

The Washington Times, on its front page, reports this story (click image below to see the story).

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They essentially do a copy/paste job from the Daily Mail, writing the following:

A prison source say the beard James Holmes sported in court last months represents his new-found faith. The source said Mr. Holmes has turned Muslim as a way of justifying his horrific crimes on July 20 which left 12 people dead and 58 people wounded, the Daily Mail reports.

The story then adds

“He has brainwashed himself into believing he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels,” the source told the National Enquirer.

Oh, so did the source talk to the Daily Mail or the National Enquirer? Seems the source was talking to the National Enquirer (a bastion of journalistic integrity and worth quoting), and the Daily Mail was simply repeating it.

The Daily Mail story is here. The story contains a link to the National Enquirer, and one would assume this link leads to the story the National Enquirer broke. In fact, it doesn’t. It leads to the National Enquirer’s main page where all my favorite celebrity gossip about Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera is to be found.

National Enquirer – No Story Found At All

The front page had no story on James Holmes, which is fine because websites like National Enquirer are expected to cycle through stories and news quickly. So I went to the search engine and typed in “James Holmes Muslim” and no story was found on his “alleged” conversion. I typed in “James Holmes” and again, nothing found. Some interesting stories on Katie Holmes, and some older stories from last year about James Holmes, but that was it, so either the National Enquirer has a really bad search engine, or this is a bunch of made up nonsense.

Here Come the Anti-Muslim Bigots and Losers

True to their level of integrity, this lack of sourcing didn’t stop our favorite anti-Muslim bigots from running with it. Some great quotes follow:

The Right Scoop said before quoting an excerpt from the Washington Times:

Apparently James Holmes has converted to Islam to justify the massacre he committed as some sort of Islamic jihad. I’m sure Allah would be proud.

Atlas Shrugged, before quoting the Daily Mail story, adds the following:

Holmes has found Islam and “a way of justifying his horrific murder spreee in Aurora.” That’s his jihad — what’s yours?

“He has brainwashed himself into believing he was on his own personal jihad and that his victims were infidels.” I wonder if he’ll get special accommodation now. Respect it!

Did he recently convert or was there some knowledge about his leanings before the shooting?

Frontpagemag took a “balanced” approach with this winner

This is far from proven, but if Holmes did indeed covert to Islam, he wouldn’t be the first prisoner to go Mohammedan behind bars. This story does come from a prison source to the National Enquirer, which can be unpredictably right and wrong. So take it with some salt.

And after quoting the story followed it with:

Well yes. There are enough Muslims engaging in mass killings. Having a non-Muslim mass killer convert is like shipping coals to Newcastle or murderers to Islam.

What If James Holmes Really Had Converted?

Anyone can become Muslim, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can forgive any sin. Had he truly become Muslim and been as portrayed, we would acknowledge his Islam and disavow his actions as wrong, reprehensible, and not part of our faith. Converting to our faith doesn’t exonerate him from the crimes he committed and the price he has to pay within the legal system.


It appears this story is fake. I haven’t been able to source it back to the National Enquirer – that doesn’t mean it isn’t true, but given the story doesn’t exist, the whole thing looks made up and unfortunately was picked up by certain mainstream media sources who have in turn been used as a tool to spread more misinformation by certain anti-Muslim bigots who profiteer on others’ hatred. If this story is as it appears, fabricated, then the best action we can do is counter this misinformation with the truth by debunking it wherever it shows up.

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Siraaj is the Operations Director of MuslimMatters as well as its new lead web developer. He's spent nearly two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his chapter MSA in Purdue University, and leading efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. Somewhere in there, he finds time for his full-time profession as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. He holds a bachelor's in Computer Science from Purdue University and a Master's certificate from UC Berkeley. He's very married and has 5 wonderful children



  1. jethro

    March 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    absolutely wonderful, good job debunking this story

  2. Alison

    March 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for pointing out the discrepancies of this story! Holmes became mentally ill during the school year and did the shooting spree, of that I have no doubt. The people of Aurora, while reasonably angry over his actions, have become homicidal as well. Someone is making many stories up, and those stories all try to portray him as both sane, which I firmly believe he is NOT, and guilty, which I believe he is. This is just another story to try and smear both Holmes and the Muslim community at the same time. I wonder, who would do that?

    • Siraaj

      March 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Happy to do so, looks like the story originates with the Daily Mail rather than the National Enquirer which makes me wonder if someone is making nonsense up over there for the sake of (online) circulation.


      • justice

        March 25, 2013 at 2:44 AM

        First of all thank you for debunking this nonsense and secondly even if he became a Muslim that does not change the fact that he’s a killer of innocent men and women and the justice system will deal with him accordingly. Therefore Muslim or not he will pay the price. Just another attack against the Ummah in order to make the sheeple say look another terrorist attack done by the Muslim’s. I think from now on every man or woman that does something so disgusting as Holmes did will supposedly convert to Islam or they will claim he or she was in fact Muslim all along but he or she only made it public after they have been apprehended. This is a sick world of Zionist media and deception. may Allah have mercy on mankind

  3. muhammed

    March 23, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Great post, we’ve had to deal with fake fatawa and the like lately as well.

  4. O H

    March 24, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    US Media bluffing about Muslims shocker! Hope the mass population is not gullible to phony, exaggerated reports.

  5. ahmed

    March 25, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    I think to really debunk this myth, would be to write to the editor of National Enquirer asking for a link to the original post if any, which is quoted by the Daily Fail(sorry mail) .


    March 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    This so-called news story reminds me of what they reported about Michael Jackson becoming Muslim shortly after being acquitted by his second child-molestation trial. Only Allah really knows of course if both Jackson (and even this guy) really ever became Muslim, so instead of trying to really prove whether they ever became Muslim or not (which would probably be impossible in Jackson’s case since he’s dead) I think we should just prove to people that just because an alleged criminal converts to Islam that doesn’t mean their crimes are ever condoned by Islam and they should still be punished for their wrongdoing here on Earth.

    • Siraaj

      March 25, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Yes, I do mention in the post his converting to Islam doesn’t exonerate him if it had truly happened, but in the meantime let’s not allow dishonest reporting attach such a name and character to our religion in order to smear us or for purposes of sensationalism.



    March 25, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    I apologize brother, I think you did a great job debunking this particular “conversion story”. I guess I was trying to generalize the fact that most times, it’s really difficult to find out whether someone actually converted or not, especially if they themselves never mention it (case in point: Michael Jackson). I believe that in those cases it’s best to simply reveal that criminals will still be brought to justice in the Dunya for any crimes they allegedly commit prior to conversion.

  8. Jeffrey Hardin

    March 29, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    The National Enquirer has broken many legitimate stories, most notably the JOHN EDWARDS story outside the MSM and you have debunked nothing here…Matter of fact, you Muslims are known to lie through your teeth, or as the great American Indians have dubbed it, have forked tongues and the Qur’an sanctifies lying to avoid detection…Not to mention killing infidels?
    He’s crazy, no doubt about it and his conversion for now means little, we can’t know his true intentions just yet until it’s gone through a trial and tested by YHVH and this report is horribly flawed & extremely biased….

    • Siraaj

      March 30, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      Jeffrey, its clear you didnt read my article – had you done so, you would have found my main contention is not the National Enquirer’s credibility (though that’s also an issue), but that the story doesnt even exist on the National Enquirer. My challenge to you is to find and show me the original story on the National Enquirer.

      As an aside, due to your hatred of Muslims, you’ve written us off as liars with a hidden agenda to justify your hatred. Your stance is that we are guilty until proven innocent, and since it is impossible to get in a person’s mind and heart to do this, you free yourself to hate completely since proving this is as impossible as proving someone is not a witch.

      I would suggest you leave behind this Puritanical attitude back in the 17th century where it belongs and join us in the 21st century where each person is judged according to empirically verifiable data, not blanket statements of contextually misinterpreted texts.

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